January 29, 2022

HERITAGE RECIPE : Perfect Dumplings

This is another of those recipes that does not look pretty at all--but I'll spoil the ending and say that this was delicious! SO much better than it looks.

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a while because the person who submitted it happens to be my elementary school bus driver. And let me say, the fact that I came from a very small town means that the bus driver could as much of a mom or grandma as could be before and after school.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Joyce Laura in memory of Elza Raymond. I was a little confused at first while googling, because Joyce's maiden name was Raymond; and she married Raymond Laura. Once I sorted that, it made sense ;) I'm assuming that Elza was Joyce's mom.

You know how you go through life and there are certain random people tucked into the back of you mind that bring a nostalgic smile to your face when you think of them? I don't mean the people that do these spectacular well-known things, but rather the everyday people that you encounter for one reason or another.

Joyce Laura is one of those people who is tucked into the back of my mind. I honestly can't say I remember much about her! She was my school bus driver all through elementary school, and all of us kids absolutely loved her. I do remember her giving us treats once in a while (cookies or something). But she treated us like her own grandchildren (of which she had many--she was born in 1927 and when she passed away in 2016, she had 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The same kids would ride the bus together every year; we all lived in the same neighborhood, played together all summer, and even though there were certain kids we didn't like, we were a sort of family in a way. And I think Joyce thought of us like that, too. She liked seeing us grow each year and she took some pictures of us in front of or inside of the bus. (She actually did have a grandson who rode the bus with us!) She made each of us feel special in our own way.

I could still tell you all of their names and I am still friends with some of them today. I asked some of my childhood friends today what they remember about her, and they all said the same thing: "She was just so NICE. Even with some of the morons on the bus, she was so NICE to everyone."

I remember one specific incident when we were pulled over by the police. Apparently, a boy named Eric, who was known for being a troublemaker, threw his hat out the window at a cop car. So we were pulled over and the cop came on the bus to talk to him. Joyce was as calm as could be; I learned later in middle school, that most bus drivers are NOT like that!

Joyce submitted this recipe in memory of Elza Raymond--because Elza was her maiden name, I'm assuming that Elza was her mother, but I can't be sure. I cannot find that simple piece of info online!

Anyway, even though this recipe is simple, I just couldn't help but make it in memory of Joyce. An elementary school bus driver that sticks in the minds of kids 35 years later is a special bus driver indeed.

As always, I am typing out the recipe here exactly as it is in the book; the "printer-friendly version" was re-written by me to include any notes or clarifications. I did not make any modifications or substitutions while preparing this recipe.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Perfect Dumplings

1-1/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 well-beaten egg
1 c. milk

Mix well. Drop by spoonful into boiling liquid. Keep boiling continuously. Steam 15 minutes.

My Notes:

This recipe is super straight-forward. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the steaming. Steaming usually involves covering the pot to hold in the steam. So, here is how I read into it: I dropped the dumplings in as the liquid boiled continuously. Once all the dumplings were dropped in, I covered the pot and lowered the temp to medium, and let them steam for 15 minutes.

It says to cook in liquid, so I imagine you could use whatever liquid you like. I made them in French onion soup (just the powdered mix with water). 

These were definitely NOT pretty. The batter looked very thin when I was ready to drop it into the soup. Still, I took about a teaspoon or a little more at a time and dropped it in. I could see they were coming apart when they hit the boiling water. Look how bad they looked in the pot! (I probably should have used a wider pot as well.)

This was after steaming

I imagine that I was probably supposed to drop bigger spoonfuls. Or maybe if I lower the water to a simmer rather than a boil. I know they would stick better with more flour (a thicker dough) but I didn't want to alter the recipe at all. There are several things I could adjust a little to keep them from coming apart.

HOWEVER... despite how not-pretty this recipe is, it was absolutely delicious!! The onion broth was a great choice. And while my favorite part was the large dumplings, the smaller pieces really thickened up the broth. Next time, I think I'll try lowering the water to a simmer and trying everything else the same. If that doesn't work, I'll make bigger spoonfuls. As a last resort, I'll add more flour. Really, the flavor and texture of these dumplings is truly "perfect"!


  1. These almost (ALMOST) make me want to cook.

  2. I love drop dumplings! My grandmother made them and perfecting those was a big deal in my family! Also, I want to share a recipe for fried pickle dip if you haven't seen it. Knowing how much you love pickles, I thought of you. This is so good! https://12tomatoes.com/fried-pickle-dip/


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